Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Organic Puna

It's our last couple days in Hawaii.
I think all of us are well and truly ready to go home.
I'm even looking forward to sitting by the fire and
being toasty warm while it's bitterly cold outside.  

Surprisingly Hawaii has not been that warm.  
For a tropical island that relies on tourism
they could have a little consistency in temperature.  
This is an island of change.

Cool misty rain in Waimea, heat and humidity in Kona,
dry and desert like in between,
actually in between Waimea and Kona.  

What I really have not enjoyed is air conditioning.
I just don't understand why anyone would want to freeze themselves all the time.  
It really is not that hot in Hawaii!
It could be that we've spent our time with ranchers and
they dress western style - jeans and boots, all day, everyday.  

I guess they do that because their animals are less tame than ours.  
Actually that's ridiculous.
Animals are as tame or as wild as you let them be.  
Gentleness goes a long way with animals.... and people.  
But this is not the American way.  
Almost everything about America is brash and aggressive
but in the most polite way.  

We visited Jeff and Lynn at Kopoho,
 down on the coast near Puna.  
According the Hawaiian kids with us Puna is ghetto.
According to Becky, Puna isn't that bad.  
From what I saw, it looks the same as anywhere else we've been on the Big Island. 

Until we headed down to the coast.  
You know those hippies from the 60s?
I know where they've gone.  
Old hippies don't OD or fade away on the edges of Berkley,
they move to Puna.  
It's hot, humid and bra optional.  
Jeff and Lynn moved to Puna right down by the 'beach'.
Really a lumpy, bumpy coast made up of pahoehoe lava.

This part of the island is recent lava flow, as recent as the 1960s.
Jeff and Lynn moved from Northern California ten years ago,
a long time after the '60s,
which they probably remember through the haze of Haight Ashbury summer of love.
They moved away from high land prices
as they were to retire early and wanted to create their own garden of Eden.
Sorry for the referrence to conventional, conservative values there.

Jeff was keen to move back to the northern East Coast but
they vacationed in Hawaii and being good, kind of corporate California hippies
visited the Big Island where Lynn felt the bond with the land.  
It's Pele
(the goddess not the soccer player)
who creates the connection with women.  

I must say I think I've felt it myself.

Jeff and Lynn are gently carving out a diverse garden of fruits, working with the land,
bending to the will of the weather and climate.  
Their three acres in a long, narrow strip rolling back from the Pacific are filled with
star fruit, avocado, pineapples, coconut, papaya, mango and banana trees
with vege patches surrounded with comfrey and healing herbs
with a few noni trees filling in the spaces.  
Not mention vanilla pods.

The kids and the rest of us wandered around listening to
Jeff and Lynn explain what the trees were and
what they produced, their healing qualities and how they were cared for,
what grew well and what failed and why.


Their gentleness held the undercurrent of their Americanness.
Their care was authoritarian and convienced theirs is the way,
the only way, bless them. 
They didn't really see the irony of their words as they decried Monsanto
(which, oddly is in this computer's predictive text)  
while setting about bending their environment to their will.  
But they did it in a pleasing and caring way.  

They fed us with a fruit salad made up of fruit from their garden.
Freshly grated coconut and cups fill of coconut water,
mushy papaya, crisp star fruit, firm mango and the most delicious white pineapple.

We ate their fruit and
(above delightful Tessa, graceful Lauren and refreshing Laura)
I observed the cultural differences.
Hippies aren't that different from the ranchers,
the women just don't wear bras.
This may be horse related.

On July 5th Louly and I took ten young New Zealand farm kids to Hawaii for an agricultural exchange for two weeks. They are members of the NYZF TeenAg programme. We were hosted by East Hawaii 4H specifically the Beatons and Stouts. We visited many kinds of agricultural and horticultural operations, varied and diverse, learned that American ag folks like to philosophise about their place in the world and had a great time snorkeling and shopping in the sun. These posts are in no particular order cause I was too busy to post while in Hawaii and can be rather abstract and should only be taken as an inaccurate at best record.

1 comment:

  1. I lie - being cold is terrible and I long to be back in the warmth of Hawai'i especially since our summer is not looking promising. Why can't global warming mean hot weather rather than dry weather!!